Switzerland Uses France Scratch to Move Into Last Wildcard Spot

2021 LEN EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Wednesday at the 2021 European Championships saw the men and women team up to compete in the 400 mixed medley relay. Mixed relays are a relatively new event in the pool and this summer’s Tokyo Olympics will be the first Olympics to feature a mixed relay. Today presented another opportunity for teams to put themselves in one of the four Wildcard spots for Tokyo.

As a reminder, the top 12 teams from prelims at the 2019 FINA World Championships have already automatically qualified for Tokyo. There are four “Wildcard” spots left for the four fastest teams during the qualification period which runs through May 31, 2021. Teams can decline an invite, leaving a spot for the next fastest team.

Editor’s note: FINA doesn’t officially publish an up-to-date ranking for relay qualifying, so we’ve done our best to compile the current rankings manually.

Prior to Euros, China led the Wildcard contenders by a whopping 6+ seconds by virtue of their world record swim in October. Japan was sitting in the second Wildcard spot followed by Brazil, who broke their national record and South American record in April. Rounding out the Wildcard spots was South Korea. As these rankings pertain to the current Euros, Switzerland, Denmark, and Turkey were all lurking within three seconds of South Korea.

Rank Country Time
Wildcard #1 China 3:38.41
Wildcard #2 Japan 3:44.75
Wildcard #3 Brazil 3:45.51
Wildcard #4 South Korea 3:47.92
Out #1 Switzerland 3:48.98
Out #2 Denmark 3:49.10
Out #3 South Africa 3:49.90
Out #4 Turkey 3:50.49

The relays at this week’s Euros have seen a similar theme: a team not listed in one of the top eight Wildcard positions would jump up into the rankings. Today would see France shoot their shot to qualify for Tokyo as Yohann Nodye Brouard, Theo Bussiere, Marie Watteland Assia Toutai qualified fifth out of prelims with a new French record of 3:46.39. This swim put the French into the fourth and final Wildcard spot.

Right behind France was Spain and Switzerland, who were both less than a half a second behind the French.

The French made the interesting move to scratch Wednesday night’s final, moving Belarus into the race. France scratching this relay could be seen two ways: one, this is an event that is not valued or two, they do not believe they have a chance to medal in this event.

Denmark moved up into the last “Out” position but as they did not qualify in the top eight, they would not have an opportunity to swim again.

The rankings heading into finals:

Rank Country Time
Wildcard #1 China 3:38.41
Wildcard #2 Japan 3:44.75
Wildcard #3 Brazil 3:45.51
Wildcard #4 France 3:46.39
Out #1 Spain 3:46.60
Out #2 Switzerland 3:46.85
Out #3 South Korea 3:47.92
Out #4 Denmark 3:48.03

Even with France scratching, they still held onto that last Wildcard spot heading into finals. Spain and Switzerland would both need to swim faster while finishing ahead of the other teams to move up into one of the Wildcard spots.

Switzerland was able to get the job done in finals as Roman Mityukov, Lisa Mamie, Noe Pontiand Maria Ugolkova set a new Swiss record in the relay in 3:46.16, moving up into the fourth Wildcard position, bumping France out.

The full rankings for the 400 mixed medley relay after tonight’s session:

Rank Country Time
Worlds #1 Australia 3:39.08
Worlds #2 United States 3:39.10
Worlds #3 Great Britain 3:40.68
Worlds #4 Russia 3:40.78
Worlds #5 Canada 3:43.06
Worlds #6 Italy 3:43.28
Worlds #7 Germany 3:45.07
Worlds #8 Netherlands
DQ/3:44.67 (prelims)
Worlds #9 Belarus 3:45.88
Worlds #10 Israel 3:48.06
Worlds #11 Poland 3:48.21
Worlds #12 Hungary 3:48.44
Wildcard #1 China 3:38.41
Wildcard #2 Japan 3:44.75
Wildcard #3 Brazil 3:45.51
Wildcard #4 Switzerland 3:46.16
Out #1 France 3:46.39
Out #2 Spain 3:46.60
Out #3 South Korea 3:47.92
Out #4 Denmark 3:48.03

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Dan
4 months ago

Sweden chooses to use 4 swimmers who did not have individual events today and finished 10th in prelims with a 3.47.98.

JFM
4 months ago

Hello,

This time for Brazil doesn’t officially appear in the FINA rankings based on FINA competitions, available here:
https://www.fina.org/swimming/rankings?gender=X&distance=100&stroke=MEDLEY_RELAY&poolConfiguration=LCM&year=all&startDate=03%2F01%2F2019&endDate=05%2F31%2F2021&timesMode=ALL_TIMES&regionId=all&countryId=1b54cc2c-c812-457a-ad88-bbe427dc7e48
Is it sure that it will be recorded as an official FINA approved competition time?

Admin
Reply to  JFM
4 months ago

It’s never a certainty if times will be recorded as official FINA approved competition times, though it’s not clear that it matters for purposes of relay selection.